Your Guide to Opening a Restaurant With No Experience
The restaurant business is profitable, but only if you get it right from the start. A lot goes on behind the scenes before a restaurant opens its doors for business, and as someone who’s never done it before, you can get confused quickly. You’ll need some help. Here’s your guide for opening a restaurant with no experience.
1. Repair Your Roof
When opening a restaurant with no experience, there are a few repairs you’ll need to undertake to get your space ready for business. One component that entrepreneurs often overlook but is important to your building’s integrity is the roof. Having a commercial roofer inspect the entire roofing system for potential repair and replacement needs before opening up shop is key to keeping the structure in tip-top shape.
Ignoring a faulty roof can result in many issues, including energy inefficiency, structural damage, mold growth, and leaks. These will lead to lower property value, costly interventions, and, even worse, business interruptions. A poorly maintained roof will expose your employees and customers to several safety risks, exposing you to liability issues.
Scheduling a maintenance check with your local roofing contractor may seem like another unnecessary additional expense, but it’s a cost-effective approach to extending your roof’s useful life. You’ll be able to identify minor issues before they grow into larger ones that necessitate a complete replacement. A well-maintained roof is also energy-efficient, meaning you can save some cash on your energy bills in the long term. Now that you understand how fixing your roof will benefit your business, look for a reputable and seasoned commercial roofing company that services your area.
As you do this, note that not everyone who claims to offer great services does. Some may just be talking a big game to secure the job but are beginners or, in the worst-case scenario, crooks. That’s why you should take your time to research a contractor’s background and history in the industry. You can use online reviews and testimonials of past customers for this, but the Better Business Bureau is one of the best and most trustworthy resources for finding a great roofer.
2. Gather the Right Equipment
Restaurants rely on many equipment and food service solutions to ensure smooth operations, from prep work to cooking, to serving customers. When opening a restaurant with no experience, it’s important to have a clear picture of what you’ll need to buy. An oven is one of the most important pieces of commercial kitchen equipment to have in your arsenal. The type you’ll need depends on the food you’ll serve. A fine-dining restaurant uses a different oven than a bakery.
After sorting the ovens out, consider ranges and ventilation. Ranges are a key part of your cooking gear. Ventilation keeps air flowing in your kitchen to keep the environment comfortable for your staff. You have two options for your ranges: gas or electric or gas.
Electric ranges are ideal if you’re looking for efficiency. They cook food more evenly and are easier to clean than gas ranges. Gas ranges are famous for their superior temperature control. They can heat up to your desired temperature immediately.
You can be sure your commercial kitchen will be crowded most of the day. A ventilation system will help you manage the airflow throughout the space. This is key to ensuring your staff always has a pleasant, clean, and healthy environment to work in.
3. Get Appropriate Kitchen Equipment
You’ll also need to acquire some food processors. These will help make tasks such as grinding, shedding, slicing, pureeing, and chopping different foods easier. There are many types of food processors, but the four main ones you should consider when opening a new restaurant with no experience are the batch bowl processor, buffalo choppers, continuous feed food processor, and combination processor.
Purchase a commercial kitchen mixer to make bread or desserts. The one you select will depend on the volume of food you intend to make and how often you’ll need to use it. Prep counters, tables, and cutting boards are other vital investments for the operations of your restaurant kitchen. Your staff will spend much of the day doing prep work, so you need versatile, long-lasting solutions.
Stainless steel is best for your prep counters. They’re sturdy, don’t absorb bacteria, and can handle any cleaning products you use on them without deteriorating. Installing small refrigerators under your prep counters is an effective way of keeping things moving quickly. When purchasing cutting boards, go for plastic ones.
There’s still more. Quality freezers and refrigerators are a must-have for any restaurant kitchen. Otherwise, you risk dealing with too much food waste and food safety and health code violations. To help you find the right equipment, consider your restaurant’s size and capacity before looking at the features.
A reach-in refrigerator is always ideal. It’ll be the most convenient for your staff. However, if your restaurant requires a lot of food storage and you have the space, consider investing in a walk-in cooler. It’s safe and easy to use.
Don’t forget to set aside some funds to ensure your staff’s and customers’ safety. Stock up on wet floor signs, rubber mats, first aid kits, fire extinguishers, goggles, oven mitts, aprons, security cameras, and hairnets.
4. Keep Pests Away
Pest management is vital for any restaurant or business dealing with foodstuffs. As you serve beverages and foods, you want to ensure they’re safe for your customers’ consumption. The last thing you want when opening a restaurant with no experience is a customer complaining that they found a roach in their soup. Most of them won’t understand simply because you’re just starting. They could decide to report your business for food contamination to the relevant authorities.
That’s why you need not waste any time when you spot pests. Have a local exterminator come in and address the issue before it escalates into an infestation. You should always serve your customers safe and healthy food if you want them to return to your restaurant and recommend your best meal to their friends.
You also want your employees to be happy about their working conditions. Yes, it’s part of their job to keep the restaurant clean. However, pests such as mice or fleas can make them sick, causing them to need extended leaves. Your responsibility as the restaurant owner is to ensure a safe and sanitary environment for your employees. If they tell you pests are on the property, contact a pest control expert immediately.
5. Renovate the Dining Room
In today’s business environment, particularly in the restaurant industry, keeping your space fresh, efficient, and relevant is essential to success. You always want customers to enjoy their dining experience at your restaurant, so they come back again and again. There are several ways you can revamp the dining area when opening a restaurant with no experience.
Lighting is an integral element of restaurant interior design. You want your lighting done in layers to control what customers see and switch up the mood depending on the time of day. Use warm colors for ambient lighting to make navigating your restaurant space easy.
You should also pay attention to the furnishing. If your new restaurant has worn-out furniture, it’s the first thing people will notice when they enter. This is a recipe for disaster as it’ll leave a bad impression and directly affect repeat business. Renovating your dining room with the help of general contractor companies will allow you to get new furnishings to improve the customer’s dining experience. Consider changing the size of your tables.
You’ve probably heard this a lot of times before, but it’s worth the emphasis; your people are your greatest resource. Creating a more enjoyable and aesthetically pleasing space will make your employees proud and enthusiastic about their work. This way, you’ll enjoy a high employee retention rate.
6. Maintain Your HVAC
Another important thing you’ll need to consider when opening a restaurant with no experience is the condition of the space’s HVAC system. For a moment, picture yourself at the restaurant that serves the best steak in town. How much would you enjoy your meal if the air conditioning system kept breaking down? What impression of the restaurant will you go back home with?
You can’t be complacent about your restaurant’s HVAC needs. Schedule preventative maintenance with a reputable heating and air conditioning service as soon as possible to rule out any potential issues and ensure it’s in optimal working condition. A significant part of your responsibilities as a business owner is ensuring diners enjoy an enticing ambiance when eating at your establishment.
The HVAC system is key to helping you achieve that. During summer, no one wants to eat at a spot where they’ll start sweating even before they get their order. You should also remember that customers look forward to being hit with the aroma of hot, savory food from the moment they enter.
Off-putting odors will quickly make people rethink their decisions and likely walk out. In most cases, a faulty HVAC system is usually to blame for foul smells in restaurants. You’ll need your unit working properly all year round to maintain high standards.
7. Cultivate Your Exterior
Although food is a restaurant’s major draw, it’s not the only thing patrons will pay attention to. They’ll also have their eye on your restaurant’s aesthetics. There’s no denying the value of beautiful design in a restaurant.
Once you decide to invest in the services of landscape companies, the chances of your restaurant becoming a hit will instantly increase. The reasoning behind this is that working on your outdoor spaces will help accentuate the beauty of the place. Giving your customers a posh eating experience in a cozy setting is one of the best things you can do for your restaurant.
A restaurant’s entryway acts as a customer’s initial point of contact. So be sure to give your doorsteps or hallway a distinctive personality that sets the mood right from the start. Consider adding artificial turf or greenery to the walkways for a low-cost solution.
8. Install Decorative Elements
Great interior decor can do wonders when opening a restaurant with no experience. Eating out isn’t just about the food but the overall experience for most people. You have some great options when it comes to decorative elements. An accent wall is a popular restaurant decoration idea. It’s a great way of drawing your customer’s eyes to a focal point. Get creative with textures, patterns, or even objects like plates.
Another great idea is to incorporate styles and colors that represent your corner of the world. It works wonders at setting a mood. This approach is particularly ideal if your restaurant is in a tourist town or city.
Instead of using generic wall decor, feature unique art pieces by local artists. Supporting local creatives will show potential customers you’re part and parcel of the community. Such pieces will also make for great conversation starters among guests and staff. If you have the funds, consider investing in custom fireplace mantels.
9. Upgrade Your Bathrooms
The bathrooms are probably the last thing that will be on your mind when opening a restaurant with no experience. However, there are some great reasons you should update your bathrooms. You’d be surprised by how many people consider bathrooms an important factor in their first impression of a restaurant.
If it is smelly, dirty, or outdated, customers will view the food served there as low quality. On the other hand, a clean, modern bathroom will enhance the food’s perceived quality. It’ll also help to strengthen your restaurant’s brand image. However, before you can start on the bathroom renovation, enlist the help of local plumbers to ensure the plumbing system is in good condition.
10. Invest in a New Door
After the landscape, the door to your restaurant is the first thing your customers will interact with. Imagine going to a food joint only to find that you have to hold the door awkwardly to open it, or the glass is full of scratches. To avoid rubbing your customers the wrong way, consider the condition of the doors.
If they’re outdated or worn out, contact a local door company and have them come to your new restaurant space. Ask them for advice on the best replacement doors for your establishment. They’ll help you pick out materials, designs, and more.
11. Find a Waste Removal Solution
Restaurants produce significant garbage, from food waste and packages to broken dishes. Unsightly overflowing garbage bins will give the impression that your business is disorganized. That’s why you should invest in local dumpster rentals when opening a restaurant with no experience.
Roll-off dumpsters are great for disposing of restaurant waste due to their versatility and ability to handle many types of waste. You can put broken chairs and food waste in one dumpster, and the professionals will take it away. Renting a recycling bin is also smart if you want to recycle things like glass, cardboard boxes, and other things. By doing this, you can lessen your need for garbage pickup while helping the environment.
While experience can be helpful when venturing into the restaurant business, it’s not necessarily a requirement. However, you’ll need some guidance. Use this guide to open a restaurant, with or without experience.